As schools across the country prepare to reopen after being closed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 39 per cent of students are either unaware or have incomplete knowledge of relevant guidelines. However, 78 per cent of students are happy about the prospect of reopening of schools, according to a new survey.
This survey was conducted by Smile Foundation, an NGO for poor child education, between February and March with participation of 26,860 students in the 8-18 age group from 131 schools across 12 states.
The survey has found that an overwhelming 78 per cent students are happy about the prospect of reopening of schools, but 22 per cent of students are anxious and scared of meeting their school friends and interacting with them.
"As many as 52 per cent of students were found to be concerned about consuming mid-day meals when schools reopen, while At least 41 per cent were not found fully comfortable following COVID protocols in school," the survey report said.
Speaking about the survey, Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder, and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation said, "It is important to understand the ground reality and the concerns of the children and their parents. Before schools reopen, we must work on educating students about COVID-appropriate behaviour in these new normal circumstances."
"Over the past year, students have been learning through a combination of various online and offline modes. However, there has certainly been a significant gap in learning. Considerable time and effort must be devoted to building students' confidence in returning to schools," he added.
Among all the students, 59 per cent were from rural areas, 25 per cent were from urban areas, and 16 per cent were from semi-urban areas.
The survey also included responses from 75 teachers in 12 states. It found that 69 per cent of teachers were highly satisfied with the teaching and learning process in the blended learning format.
The survey suggested that 44 per cent of teachers feel students will not be able to catch up with learning as per the conventional grades' standard when they return to schools, while 42 per cent of teachers felt maintaining COVID protocol will be the other major challenge for returning students.
Schools were closed in March last year due to COVID-19 induced lockdowns. Several states began reopening of schools partially from October last year depending upon the COVID-19 situation.